Laser Etching a Darth Vader PC Case for Star Wars Day

Laser Etching a Darth Vader PC Case for Star Wars Day

Laser Etching a Custom Star Wars PC Case

When you have access to a laser cutter/engraver, everything looks like something that could be engraved or cut, well, within reason. To celebrate Star Wars Day, May the 4th 2022, we decided to see if we could laser etch Darth Vader onto a PC case, creating something that’s a little bit different than your standard Star Wars themed PC mod.

The idea is simple, laser etch the powder coat off a PC case to expose the metal beneath, creating a contrast between the black coating of a PC case with the silvery steel beneath it. To do this, we need a PC case and a laser etching machine, and thankfully, we currently have access to both. 

Today, we will be showing you how we used a Glowforge to laser etch a custom Darth Vader NZXT H510 Flow PC case. We reviewed the H510 Flow back in October 2022 (Link Here), and the Glowforge back in December (Review Here). Since we still have access to both, we though it would be a little rude not to try something a little, different.

Moving forward, we hope to have a little more PC modding content at OC3D, so we hope you enjoy this taster. 


Laser Etching a Custom Star Wars PC Case (This Page)

The Mistakes we Made (and lessons learned)

Finalised settings, laser cutting, and results

Conclusion and Rig Gallery

Laser Etching a Darth Vader PC Case for Star Wars Day

The Glowforge Pro

Last year we reviewed the Glowforge Pro 3D Laser Printer, a machine that can be used to etch or cut a variety of materials. Today, we will be pushing the Glowforge’s printing area to the limit with our custom PC case ambitions, and those ambitions include the Glowforge Pro’s pass-through slot.

The Glowforge’s laser is plenty powerful for what we are asking of it today. Today we will be laser etching the powered coat off our NZXT H510 Flow to expose the metal beneath. Hopefully, that exposed metal will look like Darth Vader when we are finished.

If you want more information about the Glowforge, please read our review for the 3D Laser Cutter.

Glowforge Pro 3D Laser Printer Review

Artwork Acquisition

Since I am not an artist, I will be purchasing the artwork for our Star Wars project. Thankfully, creator on Etsy have already created a lot of designs that we can use for today’s laser etching project. While we could take some jpegs from the internet using Google, Etsy creators often sell their files as SVG vector files, which are ideal for use with our Glowforge Laser cutter. 

Since we plan to etch Darth Vader across an entire PC side panel, we need scalable artwork that will look great at that scale. With this in mind, spending a few quid on some SVG files is a great idea. 

Laser Etching a Darth Vader PC Case for Star Wars Day

To ensure that our finished etches have well defined edges, we used Scotch Blue multi-surface masking tape across our H510 side panel to help protect unetched parts of our side panel from the material that is etched off it. This tape is designed to leave no residue when removed, making it easy to take off when our etch is complete. While some will say that this step is unnecessary, we only had one shot at this etch, and we did not want to mess it up.

After etching, we cleaned the side panel using some alcohol to clean the exposed metal and remove any remaining powder coat residue from the panel after we were finished etching.  

Laser Etching a Darth Vader PC Case for Star Wars Day